The debate over whether Arizonans should ban gay marriage spilled over Thursday into a discussion about feminism, working women and stay-at-home moms.
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, DPhoenix, ignited the spat with comments in a magazine interview in which she talked, among other things, about “this supposed New Feminism.’’
“These women who act like staying at home, leeching off their husbands or boyfriends, and just cashing the checks (think that) is some sort of feminism because they’re choosing to live that life,” she said.
The fact that Sinema is chairwoman of Arizona Together, the organization opposing Proposition 107, did not go unnoticed. Backers of that measure responded Thursday with a rally at the Capitol and some attacks of their own.
“This is the most hateful thing I have ever heard from a state representative,’’ said Nancy Salmon, state chairwoman of United Families International.
She said evidence shows that the children of mothers who stay at home are better adjusted and have better values than those placed in child care.
Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy, said Sinema’s comments pull the veil off the opposition to the initiative.
“They have kept their ultraliberal agenda hidden — until now,’’ she said. “I think it’s about a culture in which marriage means nothing or anything goes. The liberal point of view is that marriage does not contribute to society and it’s meaningless and pointless in our culture.’’
Sinema said her critics were reading too much into a question-and-answer interview that she said was meant to be a light-hearted spoof.
For example, the openly bisexual lawmaker is asked what’s the best way to hit on a politician at a nightclub. Sinema responded that she doesn’t go much because she feels “short and fat, and they don’t have those kinds of people at nightclubs.’’
And she discusses her seven pairs of glasses and her wardrobe, describing herself as “a Prada socialist,’’ saying people can still believe in fairness and justice “and still have fabulous accessories.’’
Sinema apologized if anyone took offense.
“I was raised by a stay-athome mom,’’ she said. “So, she did a pretty good job with me.’’